"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Grantham-2 Beat The Surprise of This Season

It is not a flattery to say that Gambit 3 is one of the biggest surprises of NCA League, Division 2, in this season. Quick look on the League table tells you that this team is a runner-up. And these guys have beat their on-the-paper-stronger colleagues from Gambit 2 twice in this season!
Yesterday they came to Grantham and it was match which will not bring nice recollection.

Grantham 2
Gambit 3
David I
Roper KW
Hebert A
Huthwaite JR
Palmer T
Ali H
Holt C
Hopkinson GM
Mason B
Ensor R

Especially Keith Roper will have no nice memory on this match. We played on the top board, Keith with White pieces, and the Grünfeld Indian Defence was played. The turning point in the game came up at the move 18, when Keith played weak move and I, instead of playing "normal" move 18...Bxe5, I chose for an adventurous exchange sacrifice. And this trick worked. Keith run short of time and I outplayed him completely. The victory was just a matter of time, if...
Then, don't me ask why, I simply blundered the Bishop and I nearly fainted. So I was rook down, very angry at having made such a stupid mistake and my only "chance" was the pawn phalanx on the queenside. To be very honest with you, there was no practical chance for me to save the game on the board whatsoever. The only chance was to complicate the ending and hope for time trouble. And this is what happened. Keith lost on time in technically won ending. 

Andy Hebert, playing with White pieces against John R Huthwaite, won. Andy kicked off with 1.e4 and after normal moves 1...e5 and 2.Nf3 John  picked up his bishop by mistake and played rather bizarre-looking move 2...Bd6. Siegbert Tarrasch turned in his grave perhaps... but it was forced. However, John played creatively and the game had been ballanced till move 24. A series of John's weaker moves from that time on gave to Andy substantial positional advantage and in the move 32 John blundered.


Trevor Palmer played Sicilian and he was confronted with very rare side-line of Alapin variation. After an interesting battle the game finished draw. Hamzah Ali perhaps missed some chance in the move 24. Form your opinion. Game is annotated by Trevor himself.

Chris Holt played very well his favourite English Opening. Gary M Hopkinson was hoping for some tactical complications when he chose for sharp 2...f5. Chris outplayed him slowly but surely and he could easily win several times. Finally he could have transformed the game into the opposite-coloured Bishop ending where he was two pawns up and the Black King was stacked much too far from the main battlefield.

Ben Mason beat Rob Ensor on the bottom board and sealed the victory 4:1 for Grantham.

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